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Motoring News

FORD MUSTANG 2015 – 2021

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FORD MUSTANG 2015 - 2021
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FORD MUSTANG 2015 – 2021

By EWAN KENNEDY

Ford Mustang has been a big success on the Australian market and I see them pretty well every time I’m on the road.

We will cover the Mustang from December 2015 when a new model was introduced in this Used Car Checkout.

FORD MUSTANG 2015 - 2021

2020 Ford Mustang Mach 1

It comes in two versions, coupe and convertible, powered by either a 5.0-litre V8 or four-cylinder 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, the former is typical 20th century gas guzzling muscle machines, the latter Ford’s provides environmentally conscious modern motoring.

The 5.0-litre V8 featured lessons learned in developing the special-edition 2012 Mustang Boss 302. The result is a boost in power to 306 kW and 530 Nm of torque.

The addition of the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine introduced turbocharging to the Mustang powertrain line-up. The geometry of the EcoBoost intake manifold and turbocharger housing being optimised to provide higher output – 233 kW and 432 Nm of torque.

Six-speed manual transmission provides smoother shifting than previous Mustangs, while the automatic has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching.

Steering feel is nicely weighted with just the right heft for keen drivers of high-performance machines. The four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is short and sits well back under the long bonnet. It pretty well straddles the front axle area so provides excellent balance.

FORD MUSTANG 2015 - 2021

2018 Ford Mustang Bullitt

The front seats are laterally supportive but lack of rear legroom puts the Mustang into 2+2 territory. The front seat passenger can share leg space with someone behind them, but unless the driver is short whoever sits behind them may feel a bit cramped.

A selection of driving modes can be called up by flicking a switch on the central console. Normal offers a balance between comfort and performance; Sport+ provides more responsive steering and throttle response; Track allows the engine to respond directly to the driver’s input, while reinforcing the sporty engine note; and Snow / Wet keeps the car in touch with adverse road conditions.

Convertible cabin wind turbulence was isn’t too intrusive with the top down, with the body strength coping well with lateral and twisting forces.

January 2018 saw Ford Australia launch what it called, ‘The Fastest Mustang Ever.’ The 5.0-litre V8 engine was thoroughly reworked to develops 450 horsepower (339 kW). This was achieved with the first application of Ford’s dual-fuel, high-pressure direct-injection and low-pressure port fuel injection. The result is solid low-end torque, high-rpm power, and improved fuel efficiency. Peak torque is now 556 Nm.

At the same time the mildly revised 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit developed 300 horsepower (224 kW). It had nine Nm more torque, now 441 Nm.

The biggest news for 2018 is that there’s a new 10-speed automatic, which is available with both Mustang engines. It has a wide-ratio span between first and tenth, faster shifts and optimised gear spacing to keep it at peak torque, and fast response. Steering wheel-mounted shift paddles give drivers manual control.

FORD MUSTANG 2015 - 2021

2016 Ford Mustang

The six-speed manual gearboxes were upgraded to handle the added torque on both engines.
Mustang’s engine note could be adjusted. An active valve exhaust system is standard on all GT models. Four modes are available: Normal, Quiet, Track and Sport.

Visually, there’s a lower, remodeled bonnet with air intakes in new positions and revised upper and lower front grilles. But it still looks very much like a Mustang.

Revised shock absorbers make for better ride control, while a new cross-axis joint in the rear suspension leads to increased lateral stiffness. The stabiliser bars have also been revised.

For the first time, MagneRide damper technology was an option for Mustang, designed to optimise ride and handling in all situations. Previously exclusive to the Mustang Shelby GT350, the system allows automatic adjustment of each corner, up to 1000 times per second, for even better responsiveness and lateral performance.

The 2018 Mustangs have a 12-inch all-digital instrument cluster that offers three separate views – Normal, Sport and Track modes – and the ability to change colours and gauge layout.

The centre console adds a new hand-stitched wrap with contrast stitching and padded knee bolsters while door handles, rings and bezels are finished in aluminium.

Standard seats feature new patterns, six-way leather-trimmed Recaro sports are a factory-fitted option.

There are plenty of Ford dealers Australia wide, even in very remote areas. Spares for Mustangs may not be held in smaller dealerships, but can usually be shipped to them within a few working days.

Insurance is surprisingly moderate in cost – if you have a good driving record and minimal previous claims. As always, shop around but be aware that a long-standing record with one company can be to your benefit.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

A professional inspection really is a must of a car like the Ford Mustang. As is a full service history, preferably at a Ford dealer.

A Mustang that has been thrashed may have serious rear tyre wear and lots of brake dust. Perhaps you’re best to steer clear of that car.

Check the fluid on the automatic’s dipstick. If it smells burnt and looks dark, that’s another sign of hard driving. The 10-speed auto seems to stand up better than the six-speed.

Convertibles are generally water tight, but it still pays to look and feel for dampness in the carpets as on open-top Mustang may have been caught with its top down in the rain.

Look for signs of previous crash repairs, wrinkles in the panels when viewed end on, mismatched paint colours and overspray on unpainted parts.

If there’s too much turbo lag on the 2.3 EcoBoost there could be electronic tuning problems.

HOW MUCH?
Expect to pay from $22,000 to $31,000 for a 2016 Ford Mustang 2.3 coupe; $25,000 to $34,000 for a 2015 convertible; $32,000 to $43,000 for a 2016 GT coupe or a 2018 coupe; $35,000 to $47,000 for a $38,000 to $51,000 for 2018 GT coupe; $41,000 to $55,000 for a 2019 GT coupe; $48,00 to $65,000 for a 2019 GT convertible; $52,000 to $70,000 for a 2020 GT convertible; and $59,000 to $78,000 for a 2021 Mach 1 coupe.

CAR BUYING TIP
Much as we love open top cars the lower rigidity of their bodies and the chances of the interior being sun and/or deliberately damaged can make them depreciate faster.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at: www.productsafety.gov.au/products/transport/cars/

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Cadillac, the luxury arm of General Motors (GM), has reaffirmed its commitment to sedans, hinting at a future where these models could be electric. This revelation was made by Mike Simcoe, GM’s Vice President of Global Design, during a recent media roundtable. Simcoe, an Australian and former design boss of Holden, emphasized that while SUVs dominate the market, sedans remain a vital part of Cadillac’s future, potentially powered by batteries.

A New Generation of Sedans

Despite the industry’s heavy lean towards SUVs, Cadillac is preparing to introduce a new generation of sedans. These models will be a key part of Cadillac’s lineup in the coming years, according to Simcoe. “We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” he confirmed. This statement underscores Cadillac’s intention to diversify its offerings beyond the ubiquitous SUV trend.

The Celestiq: Cadillac’s Luxury Electric Sedan

Cadillac already offers the Celestiq, an electric vehicle that it refers to as a sedan. However, the Celestiq, priced at $US340,000 ($AU520,000), is designed to compete with ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This places it out of reach for most consumers, signaling Cadillac’s ambition to produce more affordable electric sedans that can cater to a broader market segment.

The Need for Affordable Electric Sedans

Simcoe indicated that while the luxury market appreciates high-end electric sedans like the Celestiq, there is a significant opportunity for more affordable electric sedans within Cadillac’s lineup. He remarked on the dominance of SUVs, calling them a “necessary evil” due to their market prevalence and practicality. However, Simcoe pointed out that many consumers, particularly those with higher disposable incomes, still desire a second vehicle that isn’t an SUV. This opens the door for sedans, especially those that are electrically powered.

Current Sedan Offerings and Performance Models

At present, Cadillac’s sedan lineup in North America includes the CT4 and CT5. These models, particularly their performance variants, are powered by twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines, aiming to rival BMW’s M3 and M5. These sedans showcase Cadillac’s commitment to performance and luxury, a tradition it aims to continue even as it shifts towards electric powertrains.

Cadillac’s Return to Australia and Electric Future

In a significant move, Cadillac announced its return to the Australian market in late 2024. This return is marked by an exclusive offering of electric vehicles, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable transportation. While Cadillac previously committed to transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2030, recent updates indicate that petrol-powered models will continue to be manufactured into the new decade. This dual approach allows Cadillac to cater to diverse market needs while progressing towards a greener future.

Conclusion

Cadillac’s reaffirmation of its commitment to sedans, coupled with its strategic pivot towards electric vehicles, highlights the brand’s adaptive and forward-thinking approach. By continuing to innovate in the sedan segment and introducing more accessible electric models, Cadillac aims to maintain its legacy of luxury and performance. As the automotive industry evolves, Cadillac’s blend of tradition and innovation positions it well to meet the demands of modern consumers and sustain its competitive edge in the luxury market.

 

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

 

By Jeff Gibbs

In a significant achievement, BYD has set its third Australian sales record in four months, with close to 2000 electric vehicles sold last month. The momentum is set to increase further with the introduction of a new range of hybrid cars.

Record-Breaking Sales Record Performance

BYD’s sales in Australia continue to soar, driven by the growing demand for Chinese-branded cars. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 1914 BYD electric vehicles were sold in May 2024, marking a 32% increase compared to May of the previous year. This remarkable performance underscores BYD’s rapid expansion and acceptance in the Australian market.

Upcoming Hybrid Models

The boost in BYD sales is expected to be further amplified by the upcoming launch of a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This range includes a family SUV, the Sealion 6, and a utility vehicle (ute), both of which were announced last month. Although deliveries of the Sealion 6 plug-in hybrid SUV have not yet started, anticipation is high, and its introduction is expected to drive sales even higher.

Top Sellers and Market Dynamics

In May 2024, the majority of BYD’s reported sales were electric vehicles, with the Seal sedan leading the pack at 1002 units sold. This was followed by the Atto 3 with 737 units, despite a year-on-year decline of 49%, and the Dolphin with 175 units. BYD’s previous best monthly sales were recorded in March 2024 with 1622 deliveries, and in February 2024 with 1549 vehicles.

Despite BYD’s impressive performance, Tesla remains a formidable competitor, delivering nearly twice as many cars as BYD in May 2024, totaling 3567 vehicles. However, BYD’s sales trajectory is notable, with a 67% increase over the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. This growth positions BYD to potentially surpass 20,000 deliveries by the end of the year, though this falls short of their goal to double sales year-on-year.

Rapid Market Penetration

BYD’s rapid market penetration is unprecedented for a new automotive brand in Australia. It took BYD just one year and seven months to report more than 1900 new vehicles sold in a month. In contrast, other emerging brands such as MG, LDV, and GWM took significantly longer to achieve the same milestone, highlighting BYD’s exceptional growth rate.

Industry-Wide Trends

The rise in electric vehicle deliveries in Australia is part of a broader trend. Year-to-date, electric car sales have increased by 26.8%, totalling 40,636 vehicles. This follows a temporary dip in April 2024, the first since the pandemic. Electric vehicles accounted for 8% of new vehicle sales in May 2024, reflecting their growing popularity.

Similarly, plug-in hybrid sales have surged by 118% year-to-date, reaching 6099 deliveries. Although starting from a lower base, this growth indicates a strong interest in hybrid technology among Australian consumers.

China’s Position in the Market

China remains the third-largest source of new motor vehicles sold in Australia, trailing only Japan and Thailand. This places China ahead of other major automotive exporters like South Korea, Germany, and the United States. Sales of Chinese-made vehicles have risen by 7.9% year-to-date compared to the same period last year, further solidifying China’s role in the Australian automotive market.

Conclusion

BYD’s continued success and rapid growth in the Australian market illustrate a significant shift in consumer preferences towards electric and hybrid vehicles. With new models on the horizon and a strong sales trajectory, BYD is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation options. This momentum not only sets a new benchmark for emerging automotive brands but also contributes to the broader adoption of sustainable technologies in Australia.

 

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